Scottish Carrie recently married Kiwi Jamie at Old Forest School. She planned her New Zealand wedding while living in London and booked some of her vendors two years out from her wedding day. This included securing myself (award-winning makeup artist Lillybeth) and photographer Rambo Estrada. Carrie wanted her most important suppliers locked in early so she didn’t miss out.

After her wedding, Carrie wrote about her makeup: “It was a gamble booking a makeup artist from pics online only and I didn’t have my trial until three weeks pre-wedding. Despite the previous worry, Lillybeth was fast and responsive to all my questions and following my trial I was sure I’d made the right choice.”

If you’re planning your Tauranga wedding from overseas and aren’t visiting the Bay of Plenty beforehand, you might, like Carrie, feel booking your vendors without meeting them in person is a gamble: You could ‘win’ and get fantastic service and results – just what you want, or you could ‘lose’ and get an unprofessional ‘don’t care’ attitude or someone taking your money but not turning up to do the work…

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If you’re planning your wedding from overseas, know you’re not alone. About a third of the brides who book their wedding makeup through Lillybeth live overseas – most are in Australia – and we communicate mostly by email. They don’t meet me or their chosen makeup artist until weeks or days before the wedding. Sometimes this is a gap of almost two years, like Carrie.

The good news is most wedding professionals are used to dealing with couples by email (or even facebook message) alone. And some suppliers – especially celebrants – will chat with you over Skype or FaceTime to see if they’re a good fit for the style of wedding you’re wanting.

But there’s even better news. The world wide web (I’m sure you’ve heard of it) means planning from overseas is almost like living just down the road from your wedding venue. Sure, you can’t attend the local wedding shows or check out venues in person, but these days you can more easily source honest reviews from past customers – gold!

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Let’s say you’re looking for a reliable makeup artist.  Apart from viewing examples and photos of their work online, you can usually find honest reviews posted online from past brides or grooms.  I’m not talking about testimonials on the official website of the business, but reviews on independent websites like this one.  Grab your list of potential wedding suppliers and look them up on this site and other wedding review websites to see what kind of experience past couples received.  Most of these reviews and ratings websites are unedit-able by the business, so you know you’re getting honest, unbiased feedback.  

Finally, If you get stuck and are struggling to fill a gap or find a supplier you like, ask the ones you’ve already booked.  If they’ve been serving weddings a few years, they should have good local contacts to offer you, or the insider information to help you choose between the suppliers on your list if you’re having trouble choosing.  Ask your professionals!

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In the end, here’s what Carrie said about her makeup:

“Mum is very insecure and had never had hers done professionally before, but we organised a trial for her too and everything went seamlessly.  She was gorgeous – we all were.  The best part is that it lasted the whole day despite it being 28 degrees.  I had hair down and a ballgown dress with a lot of layers so I had expected [the makeup] would smudge, but it didn’t let me down at all.”

– Lillybeth Melmoth

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LILLYBETH

Lillybeth is Tauranga-born and bred.  From her rural home she enjoys serving brides marrying in the Bay of Plenty – whether living overseas or just down the road – with super speedy email replies.  To experience her hassle-free communication for yourself, contact her though her website.